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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Mar 6, 2010 10:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Decline and Fall of the Garcia Empire

You won't hear many people agreeing that 87 was better than 77. No way. Not even at LSP. And I feel pretty strongly that the pre-hiatus 70s was their peak. However, there are plenty who'd argue that 81 or 83 are better than 77. I'm not one of them, but they're out there and they're not crazy. Jerry still has pretty good dexterity at that point.

Brent seems to have a lot to do with it. Brent was clearly a better keyboard player than Keith was at the end of the 70s. Keith's decline is evident even in 77. But for me, the keyboards are the least of my concerns when evaluating the Dead, and I never really liked Brent's tones much. I also think his presence sometimes crowded out Jerry a little bit, just like Hornsby and even Branford, both of whom I think are great, but they kind of got in the way sometimes. Keith in the early 70s was a perfect fit for the band.

There are some who'd argue that 89-91 were better than the late-70s, but they're few and far between too. At the very least, I'd say that the band sounded better from 89-91 than they did from 86-88. Jerry was still growing as a musician, even if his fingers couldn't always keep up. I find a lot of worthwhile moments in practically every era, and it's fun looking for them here on the LMA.